The key issue for a new Louisville-based political action committee is candidates' use of reproductive rights as a campaign issue.
Reproductive Rights for Kentucky PAC was born from the recent controversy when University of Louisville Hospital attempted to merge with Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives. Critics of the merger raised concerns about CHI's adherence to Catholic religious directives—that certain reproductive health practices, such as tubal litigations, wouldn't be permitted at University Hospital.
The new PAC is chaired by Honi Goldman, a Louisville media relations executive and a critic of the CHI-University Hospital merger. (CHI and University entered into a partnership last year.)
Goldman said the group will support candidates who realized there are bigger issues to deal with than reproductive ones.
Kentucky legislative leaders say they're proud of the 2013, with legislators having accomplished pension reforms, cleaned up other bills and passed others dealing with hemp, special taxing district and military voting.
Many of the legislature's top priorities were passed in the 30-day session, although most of them were hatched as last minutes deals in the waning days of the session.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo said the 2013 session may have been his proudest in more than a decade.
"I think that history will not have seen the chaotic events of the last day but it should record that this was a very successful session," he said.
Senate President Robert Stivers says the success of the session doesn't rest on any one person's shoulders, but collectively on the legislature.
Kentucky's legislative leaders have passed two bills to shore up the state's underfunded pension systems, effectively staving off a special session on the issue.
The new plan would reduce a personal tax credit of $20 to $10, generating roughly 33 million in revenue that would go to General Fund, but lawmakers would use for pensions. It would also use revenue from technical changes in the state's tax code, as well as money from federal tax changes.
Overall, the plan would generate $96 million in the 2015 fiscal year and $100 million in 2016 fiscal year.
In a news conference with legislative leaders after the bill passed, Governor Steve Beshear said the process will work as a template for other states.
"This is a good solution to a thorny problem. A solution that other states around the country will be looking at as they look at options to solve their own crises," Beshear said.
The Kentucky House will vote Tuesday whether to override Governor Steve Beshear's veto of the so-called religious freedom bill.
The measure allows Kentuckians to ignore laws that put an undue burden on their religious beliefs. Critics of the bill say it undermines fairness laws in a handful of cities and would legalize discrimination. But supporters of the bill say it only strengthens previous laws that protect religious rights.
Many House Democrats supported the bill when it first came up for a vote, though the decision to consider the veto was more contentious when taken up in a Democratic caucus meeting Monday. Speaker Greg Stumbo expects the override to go through, but he's not sure how strong the support will be.
"But it will be called for a vote, I don't know, I quit counting this morning," Stumbo said Monday.
Senate leaders say they will also vote to override the veto.